Background: Patients treated with chemotherapy have an impaired response to influenza virus vaccination compared to healthy controls. Little is known about the broadness of the antibody response in these patients. Methods: Breast cancer patients on FEC (5-fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide) chemotherapy regimens were vaccinated with influenza virus vaccine. Sera were obtained before and three weeks after vaccination. In addition to the determination of virus-specific antibody titres by hemagglutination inhibition assay, the broadness of the response was assessed by the use of a protein microarray and baseline titres were compared with an age-matched reference group. Results: We included 38 breast cancer patients and found a wide variety in serum antibody response after vaccination. Patients with a history of influenza vaccination had higher pre-vaccination titres, which were comparable to the reference group.Increasing number of cycles of chemotherapy did not have a negative effect on influenza array antibody levels, nor on the HI antibody response. Conclusions: Overall there was a broad serum antibody response to the influenza virus vaccine in patients treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer.

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Department of Virology

Wumkes, M., van der Velden, A. M. T., de Bruin, E., Meerveld-Eggink, A., Koopmans, M., D.V.M., Rimmelzwaan, G., … Biesma, D. (2016). Microarray profile of the humoral immune response to influenza vaccination in breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Vaccine. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.01.039